Why Does the HCoC Focus on Ballistic Missiles?

HCoC Issue Brief – November 2020

By Emmanuelle Maitre and Lauriane Héau, FRS

The Hague Code of Conduct focuses on ballistic missiles as they remain the preferred delivery vehicle for WMDs. The HCoC therefore regulates one of the most dangerous types of weapons in existence.

Since its inception, the HCoC has been criticised for not including other systems, in particular cruise missiles. While cruise missiles can be used for non-conventional purposes, they are also used regularly in military operations. As a result, states are less willing to commit to transparency measures on such weapons.

As new types of WMD delivery vehicles emerge, including hypersonic manoeuvring missiles, the question of their inclusion in the HCoC will be a key factor in maintaining its relevance.

Download the paper in PDF: English / French